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From the Tools of Good Works to the Heart of Humility

A Commentary on Chapters 4-7 of Benedict's Rule

Aquinata Böckmann, OSB; Translated by Marianne Burkhard, OSB, and Andrea Westkamp, OSB; Edited by Marianne Burkhard, OSB

In a new volume of her exegetical commentary, Sr. Aquinata Böckmann explores chapters 4-7 of the Rule of St. Benedict. They contain Benedict's instruction of how to learn and live the spiritual art of monastic life that is focused on Christ. In her close reading of the text and its sources she pursues questions such as the following: How do general Christian rules help us to live in community? How does obedience lead us closer to Christ? How does silence build community? How does humility deepen our love for Christ and those around us? Never losing sight of the reality of monastic life, Sr. Aquinata weaves together Benedict's wisdom and today's challenges to show the crucial spiritual elements of his Rule.Aquinata Böckmann, OSB, PhD, is a member of the Benedictine Missionary Sisters of Tutzing, Germany. She has taught in Rome since 1973 at the Pontifical Institute for Spirituality and Moral Theology Regina Mundi and as the first woman professor at Sant' Anselmo. She is the author of Perspectives on the Rule of Saint Benedict, Around the Monastic Table, and A Listening Community, all published by Liturgical Press.

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A Not-So-Unexciting Life

Essays on Benedictine History and Spirituality in Honor of Michael Casey, OCSO

Edited by Carmel Posa, SGS

This volume, written by eighteen monks, nuns, and lay scholars from seven countries and four continents, aims to recognize the contribution that Michael Casey has made to Cistercian and Benedictine life over the past forty years. Acclaimed as one of the most significant writers in the Benedictine and Cistercian tradition, Casey has published over one hundred articles and reviews in various journals, written more than eighteen books, and edited many more books and journals. He is a world-renowned retreat master, lecturer, and formator.Contributors include: Carmel Posa, SGS; David Tomlins, OCSO; Helen Lombard, SGS; Manuela Scheiba, OSB; David Barry, OSB; Mary Collins, OSB; Brendan Thomas, OSB; Elias Dietz, OCSO; Constant J. Mews; Bernardo Bonowitz, OCSO; Terrence Kardong, OSB; Elizabeth Freeman; Austin Cooper, OMI; Katharine Massam; Margaret Malone, SGS; Bernhard A. Eckerstorfer, OSB; Columba Stewart, OSB; Francisco Rafael de Pascual, OCSO; and Bishop Graeme RutherfordCarmel Posa, SGS, has been a Sister of the Good Samaritan of the Order of St. Benedict since 1989. She earned her master's degree from Saint John's University, Collegeville, Minnesota, in 1996 and was awarded a doctorate from the Melbourne College of Divinity in 2009. She has been a senior lecturer in theology at Notre Dame University, Australia, and is a founding dean of the New Norcia Institute for Benedictine Studies and co-editor of Tjurunga: An Australasian Benedictine Review.

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From the Tools of Good Works to the Heart of Humility

From the Tools of Good Works to the Heart of Humility

A Commentary on Chapters 4-7 of Benedict's Rule

Aquinata Böckmann, OSB; Translated by Marianne Burkhard, OSB, and Andrea Westkamp, OSB; Edited by Marianne Burkhard, OSB

In a new volume of her exegetical commentary, Sr. Aquinata Böckmann explores chapters 4-7 of the Rule of St. Benedict. They contain Benedict's instruction of how to learn and live the spiritual art of monastic life that is focused on Christ. In her close reading of the text and its sources she pursues questions such as the following: How do general Christian rules help us to live in community? How does obedience lead us closer to Christ? How does silence build community? How does humility deepen our love for Christ and those around us? Never losing sight of the reality of monastic life, Sr. Aquinata weaves together Benedict's wisdom and today's challenges to show the crucial spiritual elements of his Rule.Aquinata Böckmann, OSB, PhD, is a member of the Benedictine Missionary Sisters of Tutzing, Germany. She has taught in Rome since 1973 at the Pontifical Institute for Spirituality and Moral Theology Regina Mundi and as the first woman professor at Sant' Anselmo. She is the author of Perspectives on the Rule of Saint Benedict, Around the Monastic Table, and A Listening Community, all published by Liturgical Press.

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Wisdom: The Good Life

Wisdom: The Good Life

Wisdom Literature and the Rule of Benedict

Irene Nowell; Foreword by Abbot John Klassen, OSB

We all want to live well, but how can we put that desire into action? With thoughtful reflection on the biblical wisdom writers and the Rule of Benedict, Irene Nowell shows us how we too can live the good life. Each chapter includes reflection questions and meditative prayers, guiding us on a renewed journey toward wisdom and encouraging us to embody this wisdom more in our daily lives.Irene Nowell, OSB, is a Benedictine of Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kansas, where she has lived for almost sixty years. An accomplished theologian and biblical scholar, Nowell is a past president of the Catholic Biblical Association and the author of Numbers (of the New Collegeville Bible Commentary); Sing a New Song: The Psalms in the Sunday Lectionary; Women in the Old Testament; and Pleading, Cursing, Praising; all published by Liturgical Press. She is also a member of the editorial board of Give Us This Day (Liturgical Press).

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The Rule of Benedict

An Invitation to the Christian Life

Georg Holzherr, OSB; Translated by Mark Thamert, OSB

In his introduction to this commentary on the Rule of Benedict, Abbot Georg Holzherr offers this analogy: "The Rule is comparable to an old heavy red wine that is enjoyed in small sips. . . . Head and heart, soul and mind should taste the words of the Rule, just as the eye enjoys the color of the wine while tongue, nose, and mouth take in the delightful gift of God each in their own way." In this new translation, based on the completely revised seventh edition of Die Benediktsregel, Holzherr has created a profoundly rich commentary using up-to-date research methods and the latest translations of ancient monastic texts. At the same time, this commentary is meant not only for experts in the field of ancient monasticism but also for all lay and monastic readers interested in delving into the teachings and spirituality of Saint Benedict and his spiritual predecessors in the East and in the West.This edition also features a completely revised and expanded introduction and commentary. New research in the field of early monasticism is offered, including new insights into the monastic life of women. Finally, the updated bibliography and a detailed index are valuable tools for anyone wanting to explore the extraordinary world of Saint Benedict.Georg Holzherr, OSB, entered monastic life at the Abbey of Einsiedeln in Switzerland in 1949. Upon completing studies in Einsiedeln and Rome, he received the Dr. jur. can. and began teaching at the Theologische Schule Einsiedeln in 1957. He was elected abbot of Einsiedeln Abbey in 1969. Holzherr is recognized as one of today's leading experts on the Rule of Saint Benedict and its sources, spirituality, and applicability to everyday life.Mark Thamert, OSB, was a monk of Saint John's Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota. Since receiving his PhD in Germanic languages and literatures from Princeton University in 1985, Thamert taught all levels of German in the Language and Cultures Department at the College of Saint Benedict and Saint John's University. Fr. Mark died at the age of 66 in April, 2017, after a courageous battle with cancer.

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Monastic Sermons

Bernard of Clairvaux; Translated by Daniel Griggs; Introduction by Michael Casey, OSCO

Saint Bernard was born in 1090 near Dijon, France. He joined the fifteen-year-old monastery of Cîteaux in 1113. In 1115 he became the founding abbot ofClairvaux Abbey, whence his name, Bernard of Clairvaux. Saint Bernard was a gifted and prolific writer of theological treatises, scriptural commentaries, letters, and many sermons. The sermons in the collection published here, styled Sermones de diversis (sermons about various topics), lack the specific point of departure that characterizes his other sermons. That is, whereas the sermons on the Song of Songs are a verse-by-verse commentary on that biblical book and his Sermons for the Year follow the liturgical calendar, this collection of sermons deals with his various pastoral concerns. Since Scripture is always Bernard's point of departure and inspiration, the sermons often read like a Scripture study, but what comes through equally is the voice of an understanding spiritual father who is a masterful student of Scripture, biblical language, and the needs of his monks.Daniel Griggs has an MA in medieval studies and a PhD in Byzantine theology, both from the University of Leeds. He teaches Latin at Butte College near Chico, California, and translates medieval texts from Greek and Latin. He is currently translating Aelred of Rievaulx's sermons from the Reading collection, from Gaetano Raciti's critical edition in Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Mediaevalis 2C.

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Monastic Practices

Revised Edition

Charles Cummings, OCSO

For three decades, Monastic Practices has been a valued resource for English-speaking aspirants to monastic life. In this revised edition, updated and expanded, Charles Cummings, OCSO, explores the common practices of the monastic life in order to rediscover them as viable means of leading persons to a deeper encounter with God. How do monks and nuns occupy themselves throughout the day? Have they modernized their lifestyle or is it still cluttered with medieval customs? Could any of the monastic practices be of use to those outside the monastery? A certain wisdom is necessary to know how to use such practices and how to give oneself to them until they lead one to God.After long monastic experience, Cummings shows us how the ordinary things we do constitute our path to God. In the art of living life, he argues, we are always beginners, searching for God through our concrete circumstances and actions.Charles Cummings, OCSO, is a Trappist-Cistercian monk and priest of Holy Trinity Abbey, Huntsville, Utah. He grew up in northern Minnesota and joined the monastery in 1960. He has a master's degree in formative spirituality and has been engaged in writing, editing, teaching, counseling, chaplain ministry, and monastic interreligious dialogue for most of his monastic life.

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Monastic Practices

Revised Edition

Charles Cummings, OCSO

For three decades, Monastic Practices has been a valued resource for English-speaking aspirants to monastic life. In this revised edition, updated and expanded, Charles Cummings, OCSO, explores the common practices of the monastic life in order to rediscover them as viable means of leading persons to a deeper encounter with God. How do monks and nuns occupy themselves throughout the day? Have they modernized their lifestyle or is it still cluttered with medieval customs? Could any of the monastic practices be of use to those outside the monastery? A certain wisdom is necessary to know how to use such practices and how to give oneself to them until they lead one to God.After long monastic experience, Cummings shows us how the ordinary things we do constitute our path to God. In the art of living life, he argues, we are always beginners, searching for God through our concrete circumstances and actions.Charles Cummings, OCSO, is a Trappist-Cistercian monk and priest of Holy Trinity Abbey, Huntsville, Utah. He grew up in northern Minnesota and joined the monastery in 1960. He has a master's degree in formative spirituality and has been engaged in writing, editing, teaching, counseling, chaplain ministry, and monastic interreligious dialogue for most of his monastic life.

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Monastic Practices

Monastic Practices

Revised Edition

Charles Cummings, OCSO

For three decades, Monastic Practices has been a valued resource for English-speaking aspirants to monastic life. In this revised edition, updated and expanded, Charles Cummings, OCSO, explores the common practices of the monastic life in order to rediscover them as viable means of leading persons to a deeper encounter with God. How do monks and nuns occupy themselves throughout the day? Have they modernized their lifestyle or is it still cluttered with medieval customs? Could any of the monastic practices be of use to those outside the monastery? A certain wisdom is necessary to know how to use such practices and how to give oneself to them until they lead one to God.After long monastic experience, Cummings shows us how the ordinary things we do constitute our path to God. In the art of living life, he argues, we are always beginners, searching for God through our concrete circumstances and actions.Charles Cummings, OCSO, is a Trappist-Cistercian monk and priest of Holy Trinity Abbey, Huntsville, Utah. He grew up in northern Minnesota and joined the monastery in 1960. He has a master's degree in formative spirituality and has been engaged in writing, editing, teaching, counseling, chaplain ministry, and monastic interreligious dialogue for most of his monastic life.

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Monastic Sermons

Monastic Sermons

Bernard of Clairvaux; Translated by Daniel Griggs; Introduction by Michael Casey, OSCO

Saint Bernard was born in 1090 near Dijon, France. He joined the fifteen-year-old monastery of Cîteaux in 1113. In 1115 he became the founding abbot ofClairvaux Abbey, whence his name, Bernard of Clairvaux. Saint Bernard was a gifted and prolific writer of theological treatises, scriptural commentaries, letters, and many sermons. The sermons in the collection published here, styled Sermones de diversis (sermons about various topics), lack the specific point of departure that characterizes his other sermons. That is, whereas the sermons on the Song of Songs are a verse-by-verse commentary on that biblical book and his Sermons for the Year follow the liturgical calendar, this collection of sermons deals with his various pastoral concerns. Since Scripture is always Bernard's point of departure and inspiration, the sermons often read like a Scripture study, but what comes through equally is the voice of an understanding spiritual father who is a masterful student of Scripture, biblical language, and the needs of his monks.Daniel Griggs has an MA in medieval studies and a PhD in Byzantine theology, both from the University of Leeds. He teaches Latin at Butte College near Chico, California, and translates medieval texts from Greek and Latin. He is currently translating Aelred of Rievaulx's sermons from the Reading collection, from Gaetano Raciti's critical edition in Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Mediaevalis 2C.

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Wisdom: The Good Life

Wisdom Literature and the Rule of Benedict

Irene Nowell; Foreword by Abbot John Klassen, OSB

We all want to live well, but how can we put that desire into action? With thoughtful reflection on the biblical wisdom writers and the Rule of Benedict, Irene Nowell shows us how we too can live the good life. Each chapter includes reflection questions and meditative prayers, guiding us on a renewed journey toward wisdom and encouraging us to embody this wisdom more in our daily lives.Irene Nowell, OSB, is a Benedictine of Mount St. Scholastica in Atchison, Kansas, where she has lived for almost sixty years. An accomplished theologian and biblical scholar, Nowell is a past president of the Catholic Biblical Association and the author of Numbers (of the New Collegeville Bible Commentary); Sing a New Song: The Psalms in the Sunday Lectionary; Women in the Old Testament; and Pleading, Cursing, Praising; all published by Liturgical Press. She is also a member of the editorial board of Give Us This Day (Liturgical Press).

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The World of Medieval Monasticism

The World of Medieval Monasticism

Its History and Forms of Life

Gert Melville, Translated by James D. Mixson, Foreword by Giles Constable

This book surveys the full panorama of ten centuries of Christian monastic life. It moves from the deserts of Egypt and the Frankish monasteries of early medieval Europe to the religious ruptures of the eleventh and twelfth centuries and the reforms of the later Middle Ages. Throughout that story the book balances a rich sense of detail with a broader synthetic view. It presents the history of religious life and its orders as a complex braid woven from multiple strands: individual and community, spirit and institution, rule and custom, church and world. The result is a synthesis that places religious life at the center of European history and presents its institutions as key catalysts of Europe's move toward modernity.Gert Melville is senior professor for medieval history at Dresden University. He is the founder and director of the Research Center for the Comparative History of the Religious Orders (FOVOG) and the author of scores of essays on medieval religious and cultural history. He is also the lead investigator on a number of long-term international projects. The most recent of these includes a study (established in conjunction with the Saxon and Heidelberg Academies of Sciences) of "Monasteries in the High Middle Ages" as focal points of innovation in European life.James D. Mixson is an associate professor of history at the University of Alabama. His recent publications include Poverty's Proprietors: Ownership and Mortal Sin at the Origins of the Observant Movement (Brill, 2009) and several essays on the history of late-medieval religious reform. He is also the editor (with Bert Roest) of A Companion to Observant Reform in the Late Middle Ages and Beyond (Brill, 2015).

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Benedict Backwards

Reading the Rule in the Twenty-First Century

Terrence G. Kardong

In Benedict Backwards, Terrence Kardong builds the case that the Rule of Benedict is best read "backwards," that is, with emphasis on the last chapters, not the first ones. Benedict starts out dependent on the Rule of the Master, but he ends on a much more self-assured note, revealing more about his own thoughts on matters of monastic life. Kardong shows the final chapters of the Rule are primarily about community, and they provide insight into Benedict's vision for his monks.Terrence G. Kardong is a monk of Assumption Abbey, Richardton, North Dakota. He has been editor of The American Benedictine Review since 1982 and has written many books and articles. His latest research concerns the Irish monks of St. Columban, who were the first transmitters of the Rule of Benedict north of the Alps. His book on that subject, Saint Columban: His Rule, His Life, His Legacy, will be published by Cistercian Studies in 2017.

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Benedictine Daily Prayer

A Short Breviary, Second Edition

Edited by Maxwell E. Johnson

Benedictine Daily Prayer provides an everyday edition of the Divine Office for people who desire to pray with the church in a simple manner. Based on fifteen hundred years of liturgical prayer within the Benedictine monastic tradition, Benedictine Daily Prayer offers a rich diet of classic office hymnody, psalmody, and Scripture.This fully revised edition includes:A more user-friendly layoutA new organization for the Office of Vigils, structured on a two-week cycleDaily Offices also arranged on a two-week cyclePatristic readings for each SundayConcluding prayers for the daily and seasonal officesSlightly taller formatBenedictine Daily Prayer is designed for all who pray in the monastic tradition including Benedictine oblates and Benedictine monastics. Small enough to fit in a briefcase for travel, it is arranged by date. Scripture readings are from the NRSV.Maxwell E. Johnson, PhD, is an oblate of Saint John's Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota, and an ordained pastor in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. He is professor of liturgy at the University of Notre Dame. His articles have appeared frequently in Worship. He is the author of Living Water, Sealing Spirit; The Rites of Christian Initiation; Between Memory and Hope; and Praying and Believing in Early Christiantity published by Liturgical Press.More about Benedictine Daily Prayer

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The First Life of Bernard of Clairvaux

The First Life of Bernard of Clairvaux

William of Saint-Thierry, Arnold of Bonneval, and Geoffrey of Auxerre; Translated with an Introduction and Notes by Hilary Costello, OCSO

The First Life of Bernard of Clairvaux, traditionally known as the Vita Prima, originated to prepare the case for canonization of Bernard, first abbot of Clairvaux. The work was begun by William of Saint-Thierry, continued by Arnold of Bonneval, and completed by Geoffrey of Auxerre.When the initial case put forth for Bernard was rejected by Innocent II, Geoffrey undertook a revision of the original vita (Recension A) and submitted another version (Recension B) to Pope Alexander III, who declared Bernard a saint in 1174. This work emphasizes the deep love in which Bernard was held during his life by his monks and the people of France and Italy as well as his role as a powerful public figure.This book contains the first English translation of Recension B, drawn from what is apparently the only manuscript of the work found today in a Cistercian monastery, Mount Saint Bernard Abbey. The introduction begins with the story of how this manuscript came to Mount Saint Bernard, so fixing this translation of the Vita Prima within Cistercian life from the twelfth century to today.Fr. Hilary Costello, OCSO, was born in London in 1926. During World War II he was conscripted into the coal mines, where he worked from 1943 to 1947. Although he had not considered a monastic vocation until he was nearly twenty, in 1947 he entered Mount Saint Bernard Abbey, in Leicestershire. For fourteen years he worked in the abbey's orchard, after which he was guest master for the abbey. After being ordained in 1955, he began to work on medieval manuscripts, especially the sermons of John of Forde, which he and Fr. Edmund Mikkers, ocso, edited for Corpus Christianorum, Continuatio Mediaevalis (vols. 17 and 18). He has also published articles on John, Gilbert of Hoyland, and other Cistercian authors. Fr. Hilary was also the bursar of Mount Saint Bernard for almost twenty years. He currently does bookbinding for the abbey.

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